If you don't value your time, nobody else will either...

If you don’t value your time, nobody else will either…

“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”
― Ayn Rand

There are a thousands of Tarot readers doing free readings online and they offer lots of different reasons for why they choose to read for free… One of the most common reasons I have come across is that they ‘just love helping people.’ However, there is plenty of evidence in support of the fact  that people rarely value what they have received for nothing.

For instance, this is the psychology behind why a man marries the bitch who makes him work for it rather than the loving, empathic woman who serves everything up for him on a silver platter. This also happens to be what Mikao Usui, founder of Reiki healing, learned the hard way. Those whom he had healed for free relapsed almost 100% of the time, whereas those who had engaged in an energy exchange (it didn’t always have to be money), seemed to stay well after. The subconscious mind is a funny thing and plays a bigger role in shaping our future than most people realise.

Many Tarot students who do practice readings for free also truly believe they are helping the Seekers… but until you are good enough to start charging for your readings, it is mainly you, the student, who is being helped – provided you manage to get constructive feedback from your Seeker, of course. It is all too easy to delude oneself without this all-important feedback and we all need a training period before taking the leap to go pro. While there is no set number of readings you should have under your belt, you should have had enough successful/helpful readings under your belt to know that you are ready to ‘graduate.’

Essentially, when you do free practice readings, you are using the people you are reading for as ‘guinea pigs’ to help you perfect your reading style and intuitive understanding of the cards. While useful information may transpire, you will also make many blunders (and that’s OK because that is how we learn!). There is a fair exchange if your ‘guinea pigs’ enjoy the experiments as well as giving feedback.

What is fair changes the day you become confident enough of your skills to say ‘I read the Tarot’ rather than ‘I practice reading the Tarot.’

Some choose to not charge for their services because they have been raised in a tradition of how it is wrong to charge for ‘spiritual services.’ This thought system obviously make it impossible for anybody to be a full-time Tarot reader since they would have no way of paying their bills or feeding their children. What these part-timers seem to gain (apart from the complete freedom from accountability) is a false sense of ‘helping.’ Again, I put it to you that most people aren’t actually helped by free readings… Some chronic freebie card throwers also like the sense of power it gives them and how it makes them feel special/chosen. You might want to ponder how healthy either of the latter two are for someone who is supposedly offering ‘spiritual’ advice.

The main reasons you should absolutely charge for our services as a professional Tarot readers are:

  • You have a calling to read the Tarot full-time and the only way to do this is to go pro
  • Professionals charge for their services
  • Charging for your services makes it possible to pay necessary overheads such as insurance, as well as contribute to society by paying tax
  • Your clients are better helped when there is a fair energy exchange in place
  • Money is energy – nothing more, nothing less. If you suffer from the delusion that money is evil, you are in no position to offer any kind of guidance
  • Nobody will value your time unless YOU do
  • Time that has no value produces readings that lack value to the Seeker
  • You are not the Messiah
  • Nobody will value YOU unless YOU do
  • People who don’t value you won’t value your advice

Inability or refusal to charge for readings at a professional level is usually dependent on one of two underlying conditions:

  • A Messiah complex… or
  • Low self-worth

Until you have conquered any underlying condition, you will only be moderately helpful to your clients. In the case of the Messiah complex, the clients exist mainly to boost your delusions of grandeur. In the case of low self-worth, ‘helping’ someone by doing a free reading serves to validate your very existence – something which needs to be validated from within. You are not free until you have learned this and you are not able to give readings that liberate people from their own limiting beliefs.

Offering a ‘free service’ also make people come to expect free readings and makes it difficult for professionals to make a living. A problem that follows from this is that Seekers who receive a lot of free guidance tend not to act on any of the advice because of the reasons mentioned above and this creates an unhealthy state of ‘guidance overload.’

Either way, free readings (other than for practice/feedback purposes) tend to create more bad than good karma and perpetuate thoughts of lack rather than abundance in both reader and seeker.

An energy exchange needs to be made. It’s up to you if this exchange is money or something else, but please make sure it happens or your ‘help’ will be more of a hindrance to the growth and learning of the other person. 

There are exceptional circumstances where a free reading may indeed by spirit-guided and helpful to the Seeker but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Angel Blessings


Comments 25

  1. I loved this post, Lisa, as you are so good at addressing hot and timely topics in a really interesting way! I recently undertook an additional psychic training (I am a pro tarot reader) and offered a few sessions for free in exchange for feedback in the new psychic reading modality while I got used to reading without cards. I was totally ovrwhelmed by the requests for free readings, there were so many that I could literally have worked full time on them for several months! I did some, but I now feel really foolish that I did. I requested an exchange of feedback, but not one of these clients offered me full feedback. A few offered a few brief words such as that the readings were “accurate” or they simply took the opportunity to ask further detailed questions. I have been left reeling from this experience. One aspect is the sheer number of people who want a free reading, who literally cannot afford one, but who do not consider the importance of making an investment in their own growth and development by offering a fair exchange. This rush to get something for “free” from me made me feel like a supermarket where all the shelves had been raided! i was utterly exhausted! I am offering a high quality personal spiritual service that is in demand – but is not worth offering an exchange for?

    This experience has left me determined to cease offering free readings on any and all platforms, and to focus instead on my own writing and making my carefully developed professional services more widely known. Might it be better for all of us to refrain from offering free readings because this seems to bring our work into disrepute. It’s part of the whole problem of how the spiritual is undervalued – and yet at the same time ruthessly exploited by certain people and organisations. I know sites such as TABI and Biddy offer free readings as part of their platform, as it brings millions of visitors to the sites, and provides newbies wih an important opportunity to practise, but what are we really telling people by saying these services are available for free?

    1. Post

      Thank you for sharing your experience with offering freebies. I completely 100% feel you about how exhausting it is – especially when the receivers don’t even consider giving an energy exchange in the form of a review or sharing your work or some such. There are plenty of takers out there and nobody wins by us feeding them because they are like bottomless pits, quickly tossing aside the advice they have received because they don’t value what they received for free… and then they are on to the next free offer! It’s true what they say – Nobody will value us unless we value ourselves!

  2. I would expect those giving 'free' readings to be emotionally invested in the process. *shrugs* If you're giving 'free' readings for practice – the reading is all about you. After all, you expect feedback on your performance as payment. And if you're honest about that – fair enough. If you're giving 'free' readings for other considerations the reading is also about you. You're fulfilling your own needs. The people you're reading for are exceptionally unlikely to value what you've given them. After all, they got it for 'free'. But again, if you're honest about that, fair enough. My take is any reading should be about the person being read, rather than the reader. A reading focusing on the reader is useless at best and harmful at worst.

  3. Yes, I have done free readings even after going pro and it was part of my learning curve. No more! I actually offer a public a public apology for it in my Metaphysical Business post 😀 My point is, you're either professional or you aren't. It's one thing doing pro bono or charity work for a specific cause if you have otherwise sound bouandaries though. I highly respect my colleagues who donate their time and expertise in this way!

  4. I don't have much to input but I have really enjoyed this conversation! Reading for my friends and family for free has been a great way to learn, but I also know that if I ever really start "knowing" then I will be happy and glad to receive payment for it!

    Lisa, am I mistaken or haven't you done some free readings? Do you mean oracles who only read for free like as a martyr?

  5. A professional tarot reader offers money back for failing to satisfy the client when 'screwing up', just like any other professional would of course. Accidents, mishaps and off days happen in any profession. What defines a professional is that they are highly skilled and earning a living doing what they are good at. Being perfect is not part of that definition. No skilled tarot professional would refer to what they do as 'looking at little pieces of cardboard and making up stuff.'

    Come to think of it, not all professionals offer money back… or indeed even an apology when they screw up. A number of medical professionals spring to mind here for some reason…

  6. A professional tarot reader offers money back for failing to satisfy the client when 'screwing up', just like any other professional would of course. Accidents, mishaps and off days happen in any profession. What defines a professional is that they are highly skilled and earning a living doing what they are good at. Being perfect is not part of that definition. No skilled tarot professional would refer to what they do as 'looking at little pieces of cardboard and making up stuff.'

    Come to think of it, not all professionals offer money back… or indeed even an apology when they screw up. A number of medical professionals spring to mind here for some reason…

  7. I can draw plans for a shed or a deck and know it will withstand twenty Idaho winters but these cursory skills do not make me an architect. The same could be said about any craft or skill. I get paid professionally to perform the services of photographer, video producer and writer. These are things that are not highly regarded in American society yet, after forty years in the biz, I am very good at them and I am paid well. I bristle when confronted by unskilled goofballs who have a few clips up on youtube and who now think they are professional filmmakers or artists. I bristle when asked if I will shoot a friend's kid's wedding for free. I expect to be paid for my services and I expect to be paid fairly for my skills. If I were secure in my belief I could offer people advice from cards, I'd be in that business.
    I expect to suffer the financial consequences of screwing up a shoot. How does a professional tarot reader reconcile a similar result?
    If I were a skilled tarot reader I might charge for my craft but I am not. Reading is a frivolous hobby that is an offshoot of my interests in the art and history of tarot. For me to accept payment for looking at little pieces of cardboard and making up stuff would be, umm, unethical.

  8. Interesting post. This is the secon time in a week I see someone posting something that others would not touch with a barge pole. Free readings I don't do them unless: it's a competition of sorts, I am running a meet (and even then don't take the mickey or you won't get another), it is a friend or someone I know really in need. When I was younger and as you say used to "practice" people would flock, did any of them ever come back for a paid one? No. Occasionally they would politely ask for a free one, and the answer would be no. There is also another issue, if you do the odd one here and there and it's your hobby sure enough. But if you do them on a regular basis then it perhaps mean you have enough time in your hands and money in your pockets. I work 38 hours per week in my day job, bar the odd nights spent looking after myself you bet the others are spent doing readings, looking after my website or devising ways to get clients. I also do think that it can demean another reader. For example say I have someone advertising for free readings on my fb page or timeline and I do the same for mine (paid), it has actually happened I got a message saying: "I like you why can't you do like her and do it for free?". Which is annoying. Even before I started doing Tarot professionally I NEVER work for free, in the many companies I have worked for they have tried, oh yes they have..please do this after hours. My reply: how much? Theirs: well…we can't…my reply: then neither can I and it has never lost me a job, yes it is self esteem and mine is quite high thank you :).

  9. You know, I think some of this conflict comes from the value of the service, of card interpretation. Everyone values this differently. I don't think there's anything wrong with providing a free option on a less-available basis for people who would like to try it (or essentially offering scholarship-type readings) on a partial basis. I personally offer a few freebies here and there, but on the whole I do charge for my services… because my services ARE valuable. The information that I offer a client is worth being paid for. If they aren't sure this is what they want, I either offer them a small sample, free of charge, or I refer them to another person.

    The worst thing possible is when you charge for your services, because you value them, and a client doesn't think they are worth that investment but still wants a reading anyway. Talk about overstepping boundaries.

  10. Thanks for commenting, Marina. How do you know? You just do. It's kinda like knowing someone is 'the one'… 🙂 I reckon you'll be flying soon! If the feedback you've been getting recently is that your readings are 'spot on' then you are most likely ready to go pro.

  11. I have been studying and practicing cartomancy for a few years now (7 years I think). I give free reading because I still consider myself a student – I do not have enough confidence to call myself a professional, and therefore charge for my readings. I do believe that a professional reader should charge for their time and work, so people will give it value. I do have some 'guinea pigs' who really give my readings value and offer me feedback months after the readings., but they are not very common.

    My doubt is, when does a reader know he or she has the potential to become a professional? I am afraid I'll never feel like I can be one, because I still make blunders and and have blank spots… 🙁

    (Oh, by the way, I am bilingual too =))

  12. Alison, I believe TABI provides an excellent learning opportunity for budding readers through the FREE reading program. I think I've made enough valid points in my posts to cover why feel so strongly about this. Professional readers should not read without an energy exchange of some form. Thanks for adding your 2 cents! 🙂

  13. You are, of course, free to disagree and I fully respect that you have a different point of view. However, I base this article on years of reading experience and have even had other readers comment that THEY don't value readings where no exchange has taken place. It doesn't always have to be money, but I insist that readings where no exchange has taken place simply aren't valued. Human nature, I'm afraid and deep down, I believe we all know this is true.

  14. TABI provides free readings for people who want to stop by our website. There's a limited number available because not every reader is available every day.

    Some of these are provided by very experienced readers indeed – professional readers who have been working for years in the field.

    Others are provided by those undergoing the process of becoming a free reader – their readings are seen by a mentor first.

    I'm sorry to read that you feel that giving free readings creates bad karma rather than good karma. The feedback from TABI's free readings indicates that people DO find them helpful.

    Ali Cross (former TABI Chair)

  15. I disagree; the various free reading services *by people* (not automated) offer a *minimal* reading, a way for cash-strapped querents to have a reading: they can always pay a professional for a more in depth one.

  16. You're welcome, Christiane. I totally resonate with your comment being bilingual myself and having been self-employed as a medical translator in the past. Funny how nobody expected THAT service for free! lol

  17. Very true! Over the years I've come across those Messiah people, who looked down at me arrogantly, because I charge for my readings. Their opinion is that doing the tarot work I do is a "gift" I should give away freely…that made me so angry I couldn't enter into a discussion with them, just had to retreat. I also have the "gift" of speaking 2 languages fluently; shall I offer my translation services for free, too?
    Thank you Lisa for posting this important message!

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